THAT, literally, is how best to describe everyone with properties along the rim of the Taal “caldera,” which is the whole big lake in which there is the island on which there are numerous craters and a smaller lake that is actually the currently active vent of the Tall volcano complex.
But yes, everyone on the Taal/Tagaytay ridge – which provides a breathtaking vista of the volcano within a lake below – everyone on the ridge is actually living on the edge – because that ridge is the bigger crater of Taal. And you know what that means – should Taal decide to erupt in a Krakatoa-like manner – an explosion that blew the island off the map – then everything (and everyone?) along that ridge will be toast.
It makes me wonder in fact if, millennia ago, what is now Lake Taal was one big volcano that indeed blew its top, leaving nothing but the current lake on which the island can be found. Because you’d wonder why there would be a lake-that-looks-like-a-crater there, for which there could only be two explanations: there indeed was a colossus of a volcano that blew its top millions of years ago, creating the lake, or, one huge meteor came crashing down on earth and hit the very area that is now the lake.
Of course, I am speculating. But that’s what we are left to do, thanks to the activity of this small-but-terrible volcano that has once again shown that it could bring life to a halt for millions of Filipinos living within a certain radius. Images of Batangas towns like Lemery and Cavite towns like Agoncillo groaning under inches (feet?) of ash makes me count my blessings. They also make me wonder what the future will be for these people – and for those with otherwise prime properties along the Tagaytay ridge.
A high school batchmate lamented that “we are so old” when he pointed out to me that Pinatubo happened almost 30 years ago. Which means it is only an event in pictures for millions of today’s Filipinos, a first-in-a-lifetime experience to pass on to their nephews and nieces and grandkids. For my high school batchmates, this is a twice-in-a-lifetime event.
Believe you me, twice is definitely once more than too much.
But who is to say what Mother Nature has in store for us? This is just one of those moments in our life that there’s almost nothing we can do except pull through and soldier on. No, not even an “Istap” from some evangelist will work. Mother Nature has her own unique logic and we mere mortals will simply have to roll with her punches. Punches which could be far less punishing if we are wise enough not to temp the fates by living on the edge.
Except tempting the fates is what we Filipinos seem to love to do.